Stephen Paea

Stephen Paea

refer to caption

Paea with the Washington Redskins in 2015
No. 99Cleveland Browns
Position: Defensive end
Personal information
Date of birth: (1988-05-11) May 11, 1988
Place of birth: Auckland, New Zealand
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 310 lb (141 kg)
Career information
High school: Provo (UT) Timpview
College: Oregon State
NFL Draft: 2011 / Round: 2 / Pick: 53
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 8, 2015
Tackles: 120
Sacks: 13.5
Forced fumbles: 3
Pass deflections: 5
Interceptions: 0
Touchdowns: 0
Player stats at

Stephen Paea (/ˈp.ə/ PY; born May 11, 1988) is a New Zealand–born American football defensive end for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Oregon State University, and was recognized as a consensus All-American. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, and has also played for the Washington Redskins.

Early years

Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Paea grew up in Vavaʻu, Tonga, where he played high school rugby union and dreamt of playing at Number 8 for the All Blacks.[1] When he was 16, his family moved to the United States, originally to Lawrence, Kansas, where his cousin Chris Maumalanga was playing for the Kansas Jayhawks.[2] After a year, they moved to Provo, Utah, where Paea attended Timpview High School. Playing defensive line at only 240 pounds, he drew little attention by Division I schools, so he decided to enroll at nearby Snow College in Ephraim. Paea was also the state runner-up in the shot put, with a top-throw of 16.09 meters (52′08″) and a state qualifier in the discus with a best of 46.72 meters (153′03″).

After redshirting his initial year at Snow, he added more than 20 pounds to his frame and started the 2007 season as the No. 2 tackle on the depth chart. Finally drawing the attention of major schools, he transferred to Oregon State in mid-season after graduating from Snow with an associate degree in December 2007.[3]

College career

Paea (left) in a game vs. Louisville in 2010.

Paea attended Oregon State University, where he played for the Oregon State Beavers football team from 2008 to 2010. Making an immediate impact for the Beavers, Paea played in all 13 games, starting 12 of them, and recorded 41 tackles, 11 for a loss, and five quarterback sacks. He was selected to College Football News All-Sophomore Second Team and was an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection.

As a junior, Paea registered a team-leading 8.5 tackles for loss and was co-leader for sacks with three. He was named All-Pacific-10 First Team and received the Morris Trophy for the best defensive lineman in the conference.

In February 2010, a YouTube video showed him bench pressing 225 pounds 44 times.[4][5]

Paea was invited to the 2011 Senior Bowl, but tore the lateral meniscus in his right knee on the opening practice, causing him to miss the remainder of the event.[6]

Paea was a nominee for the Bill Hayward Athlete of the Year Award at the 2011 Oregon Sports Awards.

Professional career

At the NFL Combine, Paea recorded 49 repetitions in the 225-pound bench press, the highest since Justin Ernest's 51 reps in 1999.[7][8]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht WtArm lengthHand size 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
6 ft 1 14 in 303 lb32 78 in10 in 4.98 s 1.83 s 2.75 s 2.18 s 38.5" in 10'6" ft 126 in 49 reps
All values from NFL Combine[9][10]

Chicago Bears

Paea with the Bears in 2014

Paea was selected with the 53rd overall pick in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears and on July 29, 2011, he signed a 4-year contract with the Chicago Bears.

In a Sunday Night Football game on October 16 against the Minnesota Vikings, as well as his NFL debut, Paea sacked Donovan McNabb in the end zone for a safety, being the first Bears player to record a safety in his debut since at least 1970.[11]

In 2012, Paea and Nick Roach were awarded the Brian Piccolo Award.[12]

After the 2012 NFL Draft, Paea was reunited with Oregon State teammate Brandon Hardin.

During the preseason, Paea injured his left ankle during a workout[13] but started in the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.[14]

Washington Redskins

Paea signed a four-year contract with the Washington Redskins on March 10, 2015.[15][16] On December 11, the team placed him on injured reserve with a Grade 2 toe sprain.[17] He was released on August 30, 2016.[18]

Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns signed Paea on September 2, 2016.[19]


  1. "Fate switches dream of being All Black to NFL". The New Zealand Herald. October 29, 2014.
  2. Stephen Paea: From Tonga to Oregon State
  3. "Beavs land athletic tackle from Snow College". 2007-12-18. Retrieved 2012-08-03.
  4. Stephen Paea Bench Press on YouTube
  5. "Beaver from Tonga learning on the fly". Arizona Daily Star. October 7, 2010.
  6. Mortensen, Chris (January 25, 2011). "Sources: DT Stephen Paea tears lateral meniscus in knee at Senior Bowl". ESPN.
  7. Saunders, Patrick (February 23, 2010). "Don't put too much stock in NFL combine". Denver Post.
  8. "Paea shatters combine bench-press mark". February 27, 2011.
  11. Hester's injury not considered serious. (2011-10-17). Retrieved on 2012-02-28.
  12. Biggs, Brad (2012-04-24). "Bears LB Roach wins Piccolo Award". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-12-28.
  13. "DT Stephen Paea hurts left ankle, latest Chicago Bears player hobbled - ESPN Chicago". 2012-08-12. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
  14. "Bears-Colts Inactives: Podlesh, Conte Will Play « CBS Chicago". Retrieved 2012-09-09.
  15. Sessler, Marc. "Stephen Paea says he's headed for Redskins". Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  16. Jones, Mike. "Redskins reach agreement with Bears defensive lineman Stephen Paea". Washington Post. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  17. Jones, Mike (December 11, 2015). "Redskins place Stephen Paea on IR, pick up RB Pierre Thomas". Retrieved January 2, 2016.
  18. Jones, Mike. "Redskins cut Perry Riley Jr. and Stephen Paea". Washington Post. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  19. "Stephen Paea signs with Browns days after release by Redskins". September 2, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
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